Best American Comics 2053
Edited by Philoctetes Crumb, Jr.

Yes, it’s still got the same title, even though the Galacticon/Cylon Confederacy officially conquered the planet five years ago. I guess it’s a nostalgia thing? Or a political statement? Because nothing says, “Fight the power” like fourth-generation underground comics royalty editing a boring fucking anthology, I guess.

So what do we got here anyway? Hip, Viagra-addled eightysomethings whinging about their artificial nether-prosthetics? Check. Ivan Brunetti with a raw, tasteless strip about how he’s sorry he can’t kill himself now that he’s transplanted his brain into an invulnerable titanium computer? Yep. Some Frank Miller clone (yes, literally ) writing the newly public-domain Jimmy Corrigan as a two-fisted Wolverine knock-off (“I’m the most complexly ambivalent at what I do…but what I do isn’t very nice”)? You betcha. (Actually, that last one is pretty funny. I knew the orphaned works law would be good for something.)

Naturally, there’s still no manga coverage. At least, though, the venerable series has finally, finally, finally decided to acknowledge the existence of Psycomics. Guru McCloud himself is represented with an excerpt from his latest: Defibrilating Comics. With the new lasex surgery laws, his icon doesn’t have glasses, and it’s hair is white — and, of course, it appears on the inside of your eyeballs. But never fear, it’s still blocky and ugly and it still won’t shut up! “Gosh, gee, the brain stem is just another medium to deliver the ever expanding, ever inventive world that is comics and I’m going to show you all of its wonderful potential by standing stock still and nattering on and on just as if I’m one of those hideous nanotisements from the twenties! Ain’t progress grand!”

As has been the case since the early forties when the remnants of the big two merged, there’s one entry devoted to the latest DC/Marvel crossover kerfuffle. The average super-hero reader is, of course – well, actually, there are only two of them. They are both 98 and male and have been reading comics for approximately 90 years a piece. Apparently what they want are comics entirely about Hulk rape. “Hulk rape Thing! Hulk rape Ms. Marvel! Hulk rape Dr. Light! Hulk rape Jughead!” That’s all this strip is; 35 pages of Hulk rape. I think that makes it sound maybe more interesting than it is, though. Because while Hulk is raping the text is mostly devoted to a lot of explication about how the heroes are the greatest heroes ever, and then they’re still the greatest heroes ever and aren’t the Justice League of Avengers the best? Then in the middle Hal Jordan explains why Bruce Wayne isn’t Green Lantern, which has to do with Superman being depowered and eating Galactus (hopefully not in a sexual way. Ugh.) And Sue Dibny is resurrected as Caspar the friendly Ghost III. Or maybe she’s actually the Phantom Girl or something; there was a mini-series they were all telling me to read over at Occasional Superheroine because, you know, it featured a woman, but…well, I didn’t. Sorry. Anyway, as it turns out, Hulk can’t rape you if you’re incorporeal, so that’s a plus.

I know, I know…the Beat’s gonna be on my case for not being sufficiently nice. And I have to admit, it’s not all downside. Sure, the content in Best American Comics 2053 is wretched. But at least you can’t actually buy it anywhere. Thank God for the ongoing economic contraction and the horrific, systematic destruction of our civilization. No race that produces crap like this deserves to live, anyway. All Hail the Cylons!